Parrot VS Parakeet: The Ultimate Guide!

To be honest, a parakeet is a parrot, so when discussing a parrot vs parakeet, we are really talking about the same type of bird. Parakeets and parrots both belong to the parrot family, Psittacidae. Did you know that parakeets are a type of parrot?

Take the journey with us, and you’ll learn about the physical traits, behavior, care needs, and lifespan of both parakeets and parrots. When most people refer to parakeets, they are talking about budgies, whereas when people think of “parrots”, African grey parrots, conures, and macaws come to mind!

Key Takeaways of Parrots vs parakeets

parrots vs parakeets - Differences

  • Parakeets are a type of parrot but differ in size, appearance, and behavioral traits
  • Proper care for each species involves understanding their unique dietary and environmental needs

Check out our Beginners Guide on How to Take Care of Parakeets!

  • Considering these factors will help in choosing the best pet bird for your lifestyle

Characteristics of Parakeets

(Melopsittacus undulatus) although there are over 100 species of birds we call parakeets!

In this section, we will explore the characteristics of parakeets, (which are a type of small parrot) which will help you understand what sets them apart from other parrot species.

Parakeets are relatively small in size, with their length ranging from 7 to 18 inches. They have slender bodies and long, tapered tails, which give them a graceful appearance. Their beaks are hooked, enabling them to crack open seeds and nuts with ease.

Parakeets can showcase a wide range of colors and patterns. Some common parakeet colorations include green, yellow, blue, and white. It’s also not uncommon to find parakeets with combinations of these colors, making them quite visually appealing.

When it comes to communication, parakeets are known for their cheerful and melodious chirping sounds. They are excellent mimics and can learn to speak several words and phrases with proper training. This makes them a popular choice for people seeking an interactive and entertaining companion bird.

Parakeets are social creatures and thrive in the company of their own kind or with a human companion. It’s essential to provide them with social interaction and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. You can achieve this by investing in toys and puzzles specifically designed for parakeets or by simply spending quality time with your feathery friend.

parakeets are a type of small parrot

As far as the Budgie/Parakeet diet is concerned, parakeets require a well-balanced mix of seeds, fruits, vegetables, and the occasional treat. Maintaining the right diet will ensure that your parakeet stays in optimal health and has the right amount of nutrients. Furthermore, providing them with fresh water is crucial for their hydration.

Caring for a parakeet requires commitment to their daily needs, like any other pet. Regular cage cleaning, grooming, and ensuring their nails and beak are well-maintained are essential aspects of parakeet care. Providing your parakeet with a safe and secure home environment will contribute to their overall well-being.

In summary, parakeets are charming, social, and intelligent birds with a diverse range of features, making them an excellent choice for pet enthusiasts. Understanding their characteristics and needs will help you create a nurturing environment for your feathery companion.

Characteristics of a Parrot vs Parakeet

(Order Psittaciformes: there are over 400 species of parrots in this order)

As you explore the world of parrots (which can include parakeets), you’ll quickly notice their colorful plumage and incredible intelligence. Parrots typically have curved beaks and strong legs with zygodactyl feet, which means two toes point forward and two points backward. This adaptation aids in gripping branches and holding food.

In terms of vocalization, parrots are famous for their ability to mimic sounds, including human speech. However, not all parrot species can “talk,” and some are more adept at it than others. African Greys and Amazons, for example, are known for their impressive vocabulary.

parrots come in many shapes and sizes

Photos above from the IG accounts: @Nitaslip_ @Kiwitan @Wolfies_place

Parrots come in various sizes, ranging from the small Budgerigar (or Budgie) to the large Hyacinth Macaw. Here are a few examples: parrot vs parakeet

  • Budgerigar: 7 inches (18 cm) in length
  • Cockatiel: 12-13 inches (30-33 cm) in length
  • African Grey: 13-15 inches (33-38 cm) in length
  • Hyacinth Macaw: Up to 40 inches (100 cm) in length

While parrots are primarily native to tropical and subtropical regions, they inhabit diverse ecosystems. The Amazon rainforest is home to many species, including the colorful Scarlet Macaw and the Blue-and-Yellow Macaw.

Australia houses the uniquely shaped Cockatoo, the vibrantly colored lorikeets, and of course, the Budgerigar. You can follow some cockatoos that come to visit a balcony in Australia: IG@PatchandPerch

A parrot’s diet primarily consists of seeds, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Some parrots, like the Rainbow Lorikeet, have specialized brush-tipped tongues for feeding on nectar.

When you have parrots as pets, providing a balanced diet that mimics their natural foraging behavior is crucial for their overall health. Check out the Instagram account Kiwitan for ideas.

kiwitan an instagram account about parrots

Photo from the KIWITAN IG account! Check it out!

Lastly, parrots are known for their strong social bonds and enjoy being part of a group, which is called a flock. In the wild, these flocks can range from just a few parrots to several hundred. As pets, they often form strong bonds with their human caregivers and are known for their remarkable intelligence and emotional sensitivity.

Caring for Parakeets vs Parrots

Feeding Requirements

Parakeets enjoy a variety of foods that contribute to a healthy diet. Ensure you provide a good mix of the following:

  • Seed mixtures: Offer a high-quality seed mix that includes millet, canary seeds, and a small percentage of sunflower seeds.

  • Pellets: Blend in a portion of pellet food, which offers essential vitamins and minerals.

  • Fresh produce: Parakeets love fruits like apples, berries, and bananas, along with vegetables like carrots, spinach, and kale. Always wash the produce thoroughly and remove them after a few hours to prevent bacterial growth.

Remember to always provide fresh water and clean the feeding dish regularly.

Habitat Essentials (parrot vs parakeet)

Creating a comfortable environment for your parakeet is essential. Consider these key aspects for their living space:

  • Cage size: Choose a cage large enough for your parakeet to fully stretch its wings and fly short distances. A minimum of 20 x 20 x 30 inches is recommended.

  • Perches: Include a variety of perch sizes, shapes, and materials to promote foot health and reduce stress.
  • Toys: Parakeets are intelligent birds, so provide stimulating toys like puzzles, swings, and bells for mental enrichment.

  • Hygiene: Regularly clean the cage and replace the bird cage liner to ensure a healthy environment.

Healthcare Needs (parrot vs parakeet)

Proper care is crucial in maintaining your parakeet’s health. Be vigilant about the following:

  • Regular checkups: Schedule annual visits with an avian veterinarian for general examinations.
  • Nail trimming: Trim your parakeet’s nails when they become too long, or provide abrasive perches for natural filing.

  • Feather care: Mist your parakeet with lukewarm water to encourage preening and maintain healthy feathers.
  • Signs of illness: Monitor your bird for any changes in behavior, weight loss, or other signs of illness. Consult a vet promptly if you notice any concerns.

By taking care of your parakeet’s essential needs, you will help ensure they stay happy, healthy, and active.

Caring for Parrots vs Parakeets

Feeding Requirements (parrot vs parakeet)

When taking care of your parrot, it is essential to pay attention to their diet. A balanced and varied diet is crucial for their overall health. Since parakeets are a type of parrot, you can follow these guidelines.

More importantly, you may want to ask your avian veterinarian for some specific things you can do to care for your feathered friend properly. Like parrots? Check out more fun parrot facts!

Here are some recommendations to ensure you provide the best nutrition for your feathered friend:

  • Pellets: These should make up about 70-80% of their diet, as they are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Learn more about: the best pellets for parrots in our guide!

  • Fruits and vegetables: Offer a variety of fresh fruits and veggies daily (20% of their diet). Be cautious with avocados, as they are toxic to parrots.

  • Nuts and seeds: As treats, you can occasionally give your parrot a few nuts or seeds. Avoid overfeeding these, as they have high-fat content.

  • Water: Always provide clean, fresh water for your parrot. Remember to change it twice daily.

Habitat Essentials (parrot vs parakeet)

Creating a comfortable and spacious environment for your parrot is crucial. Here’s how you can set up the perfect home for them:

  • Cage: Choose a cage large enough for your parrot to move around and extend their wings comfortably. Make sure the cage bars are adequately spaced to prevent escape or injury.

  • Perches: Offer a variety of perches with different textures and diameters to promote foot health. Natural materials like wood or rope are excellent choices.

  • Toys: Parrots love to play, so provide them with a variety of toys (chew toys, puzzle toys, swings) to keep them entertained and mentally stimulated.

  • Cleanliness: Regularly clean the cage, perches, and other accessories to maintain a hygienic environment for your parrot.

Healthcare Needs

To keep your parrot healthy, you need to be proactive in monitoring their health and addressing any concerns promptly. Take into consideration the following tips:

  • Routine check-ups: Schedule an annual check-up with an avian veterinarian to monitor your parrot’s overall health and detect any potential issues early.

  • Grooming: Keep your parrot’s wings, beak, and nails trimmed to avoid overgrowth and injuries. Consult with your vet or a professional groomer for guidelines. Parrots need to bathe in order to remove some of the dust coat.

If you want a less dusty bird, check out this list of low-dander birds!

  • Signs of illness: Always be on the lookout for any signs of illness, such as lethargy, weight loss, discharge, or changes in behavior. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Behavioral Differences Parkakeets VS Parrots

Mood and Personality

When it comes to mood and personality, you’ll find that parakeets are generally friendly, inquisitive, and playful. They enjoy interacting with their human companions and can often be taught tricks, making them a delightful addition to your home.

Larger parrots, on the other hand, have a broader range of personalities. While some can be friendly and affectionate, others may be shy or aggressive. It’s essential to research the specific species of parrot you’re interested in to understand their individual temperaments better.

Socialization Needs

Socialization needs also play a significant role in the differences between parakeets and parrots. Parakeets usually bond well with their caretakers as well as other parakeets. It’s common for them to live in pairs or small groups, and they can become lonely if not given enough attention and social interaction.

On the other hand, parrots have varying socialization needs depending on their species. Some, like the African Grey, are known to form strong bonds with their human caregivers, while others might prefer to be more independent. It’s essential to provide proper socialization for both parakeets and parrots to ensure a happy and well-adjusted pet.

Remember that individual personalities will always vary within each species, and it’s crucial to spend time getting to know your bird’s unique traits to understand its behaviors and needs better.

Parakeets VS Parrots: Lifespan and Size

When comparing parakeets and parrots, you’ll notice some key differences in their lifespan and size. Parakeets are a type of parrot, but they have their own unique characteristics.


Parakeets typically have a shorter lifespan than other larger parrot species. A healthy parakeet in captivity can live between 7-18 years. However, there are some exceptions, such as the Monk Parakeet, which can live up to 30 years with proper care.

Parrots, on the other hand, can have a significantly longer lifespan. Some small parrot species, like the lovebirds, can live for 10-15 years, while larger parrot species such as macaws and cockatoos can live up to 60 or even 80 years! And then there’s the African grey parrot’s lifespan, which is generally up to 80 years.

parakeets vs parrots - Differences


Parakeets are generally smaller in size compared to most other parrots. The average length of a parakeet ranges between 6-12 inches, including their long tail feathers. The smallest parakeet species is the Budgerigar (Budgie), measuring around 6-8 inches.

Parrots, however, come in a wide range of sizes. From the tiny pygmy parrots, which are only around 3 inches in size, to the large and impressive hyacinth macaw, which can reach a massive 3.3 feet in length.

To summarize, while parakeets and parrots belong to the same family, they have some noticeable differences in terms of lifespan and size. Parakeets tend to be smaller and have a shorter lifespan, while parrots can vary greatly in both size, with some species living much longer.

Keep these factors in mind when choosing a pet bird to ensure you can provide the proper care and commitment needed for their entire lifespan.

Choosing the Right Pet for You

Consider Space

Before deciding on a parakeet or a parrot, think about the space you have in your home. Parakeets generally require a smaller cage, while larger parrots need a larger and sturdier enclosure.

Keep in mind that both birds will appreciate some time outside of their cages to stretch their wings. Check out our article on lovebirds vs parakeets.

Consider Noise Level

Consider that parrots can be quite noisy, which might not be ideal for apartment living. Whereas parakeets are still a type of parrot, but they are not as loud as an African grey, cockatoo, or macaw! Read up on the screaming African greys here.

Consider Budget

Living with a pet bird comes with its own set of expenses. When choosing between a parakeet and a parrot, evaluate your budget. Parakeets have a lower initial cost and are relatively cheaper to care for.

Parrots, on the other hand, tend to be more expensive upfront and have higher maintenance costs, such as higher-quality food and toys, to keep them entertained.

Consider Time

Both parakeets and larger parrots require your time and attention, but their socialization needs differ. Parakeets are more independent, allowing you some flexibility in your schedule.

Larger parrots, meanwhile, demand more time and attention for their mental and emotional well-being. Remember that many parrots often have a longer lifespan, so be prepared for a long-term commitment if you choose a parrot.

In summary, when choosing between a parakeet and a larger parrot, consider the space you have, your budget, and the time you can dedicate to your new pet. This will help ensure you bring home the right feathered friend for your lifestyle and enjoy a happy, healthy relationship together.

Conclusion Parrots vs Parakeets

In choosing between a parakeet and a parrot, consider your lifestyle and preferences. Parakeets are smaller, more sociable birds that require less space, and some are easier to handle. On the other hand, parrots can be larger, more independent birds that require more space and attention.

Parakeet Qualities:

  • Smaller in size, making them suitable for smaller living spaces
  • Generally friendly and sociable, often forming close bonds with their human caregivers.
  • Have a shorter lifespan, usually between 7-18 years, which might be more suitable for those unable to commit to the long life span of larger parrots.
  • Less demanding in terms of care and maintenance, making them ideal for first-time bird owners.

Parrot Qualities:

  • Some are larger in size
  • Independent and intelligent
  • Many Require more space and attention
  • Longer life expectancy

Ultimately, the decision relies on you and your personal commitment. Since both parakeets and parrots have the potential to be wonderful pets, and parakeets are a type of parrot, it’s up to you. You can build a strong bond and enjoy a fulfilling companionship with any feathered friend if you put the time in.

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